A state grand jury investigation has led to neglect charges against the former owner of an Altoona personal care home and two former employees.
Sherry Jo Warner, 64, of 2030 Riggles Gap Road, who owned and operated Warner's Home for the Aged at 1100 14th Ave. until late last year when the home's license was revoked by the state, was arraigned Tuesday. Also arrested were former direct care aides Diana L. Frye, 62, of 1104 14th Ave. and Marjory J. Koch, 44, of 211 Seventh Ave.
Kenneth G. McGuire, 80, who had lived at the home five years beginning in February 2007, died Nov. 17, 2011, 12 days after he was admitted to Altoona Regional. Attorney General's agents allege the aides failed to keep McGuire clean and allowed bed sores to grow and multiply between July 21 and Nov. 5, 2011.
Hospital staff said McGuire's appearance was the worst they had seen during their careers in medicine, court documents state. McGuire's doctor also told the grand jury that there were more sores on McGuire than he has "ever seen in his 30 years of practice."
Warner, Frye and Koch are all charged with one count of neglect of a care-dependent person, a misdemeanor.
Warner admitted to the grand jury that there were warning signs about McGuire's condition prior to the fall of 2011, the presentment noted.
"Wish I would have done more, gone back to look at the sores. I never looked at the sores," Warner told the grand jury. "I could kick myself in the rear end for not looking at those sores. I look like hell in this."
According to the charges, McGuire had visited his doctor on July 21, 2011, and although a small sore on his leg was present, the doctor found McGuire able to take care of himself. The wound had healed up after treatment through the former Bon Secours wound clinic and Home Nursing Agency but over the course of the next several months, McGuire's health deteriorated, charges allege.
When he was taken to the hospital Nov. 5, 2011, McGuire was covered in dried feces and soaked in urine, AMED personnel told the grand jury, and Altoona Regional personnel testified he was in worse shape than any other personal care home patient they had ever encountered.
McGuire did not appear to have been bathed in several days, the grand jury noted. The doctor also had not been told of McGuire's decline in health that included going from walking with a cane to being wheelchair bound, the doctor told the grand jury.
McGuire suffered pressure sores on all of his toes, shins and one foot was gangerous, court records show. Hospital staff also noted he was dehydrated and suffered from sepsis.
When McGuire died, a forensic examination by Dr. Harry Kamerow concluded that apart from the multiple bed sores, McGuire was in a "state of ill health, malnutrition and wasting."
Agents from the Attorney General's Office executed a search warrant at Sherry Warner's home on Riggles Gap Road in late November 2011, seeking records from the personal care home. The state revoked the home's license on Dec. 6, 2011, giving Warner 30 days to assist the home's 18 remaining residents to find other accommodations.
Warner also failed to keep a current care plan on file for the resident, the Attorney General's Office alleges.
Warner declined comment on the investigation in December and since then, her home number has been disconnected. Neither Frye or Koch could be reached for comment on the charges.
Frye and Koch both worked the third shift - 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. - at the home. Koch told the grand jury that Warner never trained her or gave instructions as to how to care for residents and never appraised her of McGuire's medical condition, one that made him susceptible to sores on his legs.
Frye, co-workers testified, allegedly shirked her duties and left McGuire lay in urine and feces all night. Frye allegedly said it was her common practice to look in the room on the overnight shift but not physically check on McGuire. Frye said she should have done more, the grand jury said.
All three women remain free on unsecured $25,000 bail each and are due to appear at Central Court for preliminary hearings on Oct. 3.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.